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bank. your money needs an ally. >>> fiscal cliff, the thing we are trying to avoid, had $1.2 trillion in cuts but half are to defense. this has $1.2 trillion in cuts but they're just saying make the whole thing cuts to entitlements in domestic spending and not cut defense at all? trying to entice the democrats saying, i don't want you to fall off this cliff so why don't you voluntarily jump off this steeper cliff but don't worry, your fall will be cushioned by lava. >> that is jon stewart's take on the gop's fiscal cliff offer. he's right. we are better off stumbling down the slope like drunken fools than the republican offer out there. here to explain that and why a huge part of the talks making major changes to medicare may be totally unnecessary is jonathan cohn and joins us now. jon, i think that's a good place to start is this. itรง seems like all of the discussions about medicare, in relation to the fiscal cliff or in general seems to have an ajumpgs a assumption it's a big program and in dire need for cutting and reform but there's a basic myth at work there of the efficiency
. if there's a deal on the fiscal cliff, if there's going to be a deal before january 1st, there will be rate increases of some sort. boehner can't be the guy to lead republicans to that, because they don't trust him and looking for sign of a sellout. what he needs to do here, this goes to the end of the month because boehner has to wait and put up the fight and make it look like he's putting up the filt. other conservatives say it's time to go. >> who would that be? >> people on talk radio and fox news and "wall street journal." >> who in washington would lead that? >> i think the tea partiers in the house are responsive to that information network. that's what happened with -- here's the key. last year the payroll tax was coming up for expiration at end of last year. obama said i wanted it extended for 2012. republicans at first said no, and boehner had to say no with them. when the deadline came last christmas, around last christmas republicans started to panic but polls showed people would blame them. all of a sudden those voices said let's not have this fight now. >> he's banking on that
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